The world wouldn't be the same

without Betty Williams


Betty Williams (born 22 May 1943) in the city of Belfast in Northern Ireland, is a co-recipient with Mairead Corrigan of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1976 for her work as a cofounder of Community of Peace People, an organisation dedicated to promoting a peaceful resolution to The Troubles in Northern Ireland. She heads the Global Children's Foundation and is the President of the World Centre of Compassion for Children International.

Nobel Prize

Subsequent to that dramatic display of support for peace, Williams and Corrigan became the joint recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1977 (the prize for 1976).

Peace petition

Betty Williams was drawn into the public arena after witnessing the death of three children on 10 August 1976, when they were hit by a car whose driver, an IRAfugitive named Danny Lennon, was fatally shot by British authorities. Williams was driving in her car with one of her children when she heard gunfire. She turned the corner to her street, saw the three Maguire children and rushed to help. Their mother, Anne Maguire, who was with them, eventually committed suicide in 1980 after a failed attempt to start a new life in New Zealand.

The Community for Peace People

Within two days of the tragic event, Williams had obtained 6,000 signatures on a petition for peace and gained media attention. Together with Mairead Corrigan, Anne Maguire's sister, she co-founded the Women for Peace which later, with co-founder Ciaran McKeown became The Community for Peace People.

The two organised a peace march to the graves of the children, which was attended by 10,000 Protestant and Catholic women – the peaceful march was disrupted by members of the Irish Republican Army, who accused them of being "dupes of the British". The following week, Williams and Corrigan again led a march – this time with 35,000 participants.

Betty Williams

Nobel Laureate Betty Williams describes the power of non-violence and explains that it is far more complicated to turn the other cheek then it is to respond with force.
Betty Williams on Non-Violence